The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.7 percent in October from September, following three consecutive months of increases, according to the Freight Transportation Services Index released this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS).
The October 2013 index level (114.3) was 20.5 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. BTS reported that the level of freight shipments in October was 0.7 percent below the all-time high level of 115.1 in September 2013.
The September index was revised to 115.1 from 115.8 in last month’s release but still remains an all-time high. Monthly numbers for May through August were revised down slightly as were August and September 2012. October and November 2012 were revised up.
The 0.7 percent decrease in October freight transportation was driven by decreases in air freight, rail carloads — and particularly in trucking. The decrease follows three months of increases during the July through September quarter. During the quarter, Revised Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.6 percent was heavily driven by an increase in private inventories – which may have accounted for much of the TSI growth. The Census Bureau’s report on manufacturers shows that increase in inventories of manufacturers continued in October.